You've managed to convince your parents that a gap year is a good idea, now is the time to prove it. The best way to make sure your adventure goes off without a hitch is to make sure you plan everything thoroughly. Take a look at our backpacker's guide to the world for some advice on planning your first backpacking adventure.
Research, research and more research! Decide on what you want to get out of your adventure. Do you want to travel around Europe or experience other cultures further afield? Do you want to explore a specific passion, such as animal watching or find amazing night life? Use the internet, guide books, and ask friends and family for any advice on where to go and at what time of year. It is extremely important that you familiarize yourself with the country/countries you plan to visit. For example in some countries sunbathing topless, sexual contact in public and even homosexuality are seen as illegal, and could result in a huge fine or imprisonment.
Depending on where you are travelling, your next step may be to start researching entry visas. Many countries require that you have a visa to enter, and you don't want to fly all the way there just to be turned away. If you are planning on a working holiday you will also need a working visa, if you ignore these regulations you could face deportation and a heavy fine.
Research possible places you could stay, even if you don't want to book them until you get there. However, we do advise that you arrange accommodation for at least your first night away, to give yourself time to adapt without pressure.
Here are the top 10 things you should not leave home without, and some which you may not have thought about. For a full list of items to bring on your adventure, take a look at our backpacking checklist in the Backpacking Tips and Advice section.
If you do not invest in a decent travel insurance policy, you could find yourself lumbered with hefty bills if you become injured or seriously hurt abroad. Furthermore, if your possessions become lost or damaged you could be left without any support or compensation. At Alpha Travel Insurance, we have created a travel insurance policy specifically tailored for people taking an extended trip. Alpha's Long Stay Travel Insurance can offer piece of mind and support to meet any budget, so you can simply enjoy your trip and focus on living life to the full.
Are there things we've forgotten to include? Why not let us know what essential items make it on to your backpacking guides by leaving a comment on our Twitter or Facebook pages! If you found this article to be helpful, please share it with others using the social share links!
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